Rihanna’s “We Found Love” and Repetition

Repetition is the epitome of pop music today. For example, let’s look at Rihanna’s “We Found Love.” Rihanna sings the phrase “We found love in a hopeless place” 16 times. That means that those words make up 112 of the 206 words in the song. That’s over half. Maybe barely, but still… Over 50 percent of the song is made up of that one phrase. At some point or another, every single one of us has had to have thought, “Okay, we get it. They found love in a hopeless place.”

Some of the other repeated phrases in the song include “Yellow diamonds in the light / and we’re standing side by side / as your shadow crosses mine” and “It’s the way I’m feeling / I just can’t deny / But I’ve gotta let it go.” Both of those are repeated twice. The only phrases that aren’t repeated in the whole song are “What it takes to come alive” and “Turn away cause I need you more / Feel the heartbeat in my mind.”

Now, why did I pick this song? How does it relate to our class?

Well, as we’ve read a lot of songs in the past couple of weeks, I’ve noticed the use of repetition. When we read Sidney’s Astrophil and Stella or Tottel’s Miscellany, we saw repetition, but not to the same degree. As I was reading Thomas Morley’s songs last night, one that caught my eye was VI, “It was a lover and his lasse.” He repeats the phrases “With a hay, with a ho and hay nonie no” and “In spring time, the onely prettie ring time, / When Birds doe sing, hay ding a ding a ding, / Sweete lovers love the spring.” Like Rihanna’s song, these words make up a majority of the song.

Repetition works in songs in a way that it could not in poetry. If I had copied and pasted the lyrics of Rihanna’s song in this blog post, your eyes would more than likely have skimmed over the lyrics because they are so repetitive. So, where you can sing “We found love in a hopeless place” 16 times, you probably couldn’t sit and read it 16 times over in a poem. This where the music becomes so important. The way a singer sings the lyric and the way music fits with the lyric can enhance a repeated phrase, make it mean something more each time it is sung.

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